How to take your business online? Actually, the question should be asked a bit differently: how to take your business online successfully? After all, there are very few businesses and business owners, who do not already have a very tangible connection to the online world. I mean, with online yellow pages and business review pages that add all the businesses in the area, there is hardly a business that doesnt already have an online presence per se.
Yet, lets ask the question differently still. How can you make the best of your business online presence? Are you going to settle for the web-based yellow pages? Are you using sales sites, such as eBay or Amazon as a step-stool to boost your business or as a crutch that keeps you from fulfilling your full potential? Are you utilizing the social media enough or at all?
Theres no reason not to have a good web site. And there are virtually no prerequisites to having one. However, just because everyone can have a web site, doesnt mean that everyone can create one. Some, especially new, businesses are so eager to enter the online arena that they seem to forget that the business web site is equivalent to the mortar-and-brick business storefront. In other words, pitching a tent in the middle of nowhere isnt a good sales boosting strategy.
Even though you may be selling home-made products, your webpage doesnt have to and should not appear home-made. Well-designed website isnt just a matter of vanity. It is a matter of trust. Think about it. If your customer is to trust you with his heard earned money, even with his vulnerable credit card, he needs to feel secure on your page. And a site that looks like somebody in the third world country has put together in five minutes isnt going to do the trick.
However, it does not mean that you are necessarily doomed to be over-paying for a professional site building service. There are many venues that allow even an online laic to create a professionally looking page for free or for a fraction of the cost of a fully professional service. For instance, many businesses have found out that creating a WordPress based shop has many advantages and helps them maintain a professional website without the hassles of running a traditional page. Plus, with WordPress you can use dozens of plugins like WP All Import to make your life easier.
But all good things come to those who wait, if you are not waiting too long. What I mean is that you should not rush your online presence at all costs. Even with webpages, it is easier and cheaper to do things right the first time around. Before you decide on your own website, shop around a little. You can definitely shop around for professional services, but also for free ideas. Check out your competition online, or explore how other businesses similar to yours do it.
Dont forget to pick a comprehensive theme for your online presence. Even before you set your foot on the online path, you should already know where you are headed. Is your main point online sales? Or is it advertising? Or are you more about connecting with your customers on a more informal base? Is it all three?
Last but not least, dont forget that there are also repercussions to having an online presence. Being a victim to fraud and hacking come to mind first, but there are other more subtle things that can jeopardize your business success. There are many ways, in which your business can get a bad PR through its online presence. Yet, it may all be happening clear out of your sight. Therefore, before you venture out into the wireless, make sure you have a well-defined PR and security management strategy in place.